Tom's Gravity Pages
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General Tips and How-To



How-To tag an entire thread at once

Collapse the thread and tag it, the whole thread will be tagged. Many thanks to Seth Goodman for this excellent tip.

How-To Grab the Bodies of a Whole Thread Quickly

Press "W", the articles should be retrieved, then press it again to remove the thread from the watch list. Of course this assumes you have not edited the Watch Thread Rule from the default. Note that the Tag command is a toggle also.

Shortcuts to Filters and Options

To get to your filters quickly, press the filter button on the filter bar. It is faster then going to the menu item, Newsgroup - Define Filter Display. If you don't have the filter bar showing, enable it from the menu item View - Filter Bar.

Some options can be accessed without going into global options. For example, place the mouse focus in the article window and right click. If you select "properties" you are placed into the correct dialogue for article layout. You can do the same with the Thread Pane.


Keep attachments in one part.

This is set under Global Options - Encoding. Un-check Start Articles in a Separate Attachment. Also, set split articles at 'unlimited.' Thanks to Tony for pointing out the unlimited. I never knew it was there.

Add toolbar separators and move buttons easily

Do it the easy way. Hold ALT and drag any button slightly to the right with the mouse. To remove any separator, hold ALT and drag the button left. This method also lets you move toolbar buttons.

Change the URL for Deja News (VERSION 2.2 Only)

This only works in Version 2.2, and higher. If you are comfortable editing the registry you can set another URL for the Deja toolbar button (it can be any URL, like your own page) under this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\MicroPlanet\Gravity\System

The key is "DejaNewsUrl"

Since Google took over the Deja archives, you may want to change it to one of these links. The second is the power search.

http://groups.google.com/
http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search

NOTE 1: I received an e-mail from someone who did not have that key in the registry. However, he was able to create a new string value named DejaNewsUrl in the proper place and it worked out OK.

NOTE 2: This hack involves editing the registry. If you are not familiar with editing and restoring registry settings you could screw things up big time and should probably leave it alone. You might want to back up (export) the Gravity key first.


Use selective quoting

Selective quoting is often overlooked but is extremely useful. To use it, highlight the part of the article to which you would like to respond and press follow up. Only the highlighted part will be quoted. You can use this method to include signatures and/or headers in quoted material.

Just a note: Don't quote sigs as a normal practice.


Manual decoding may work when decode fails

If Gravity gives an error decoding, try using manual decode (CONTROL-M). Some articles give Gravity trouble using normal decode (CONTROL-D). Gravity sometimes also gives a decode error if the subject line of a single-part binary contains 2 numbers separated by a forward slash. It thinks the article is a multi-part binary with missing parts. Also single part binaries with "of" in the subject will generate that error and need a manual decode.

NOTE: I posted a registry fix for the "of" thing on the Undocumented Page. Also, the registry fix was incorporated in Version 2.3.


Backing up databases and rules

For help with backup problems, see The FAQs

One-step backup with a batch file

Backup.exe has command-line parameters which can be used in a batch file. To see the backup.exe parameters and usage read the GravityBackup.txt file in the program directory. To create a batch file proceed as follows. For this example I have Gravity in E:\programs\gravity and a subfolder under that named backup. I am working in the backup directory. By setting the working directory in the shortcut we can use a relative path. My backup file is named grav.grv.

Changing the display threading

You can select whether the display threads by author, subject, date, etc. Whatever heading is leftmost will be indented.

Change the display by going to Global Options - Display - Thread pane columns and move the one you want to the top.

Speeding things up (slow or freezing headers)

Some servers have trouble with the "verify local headers" option in server properties (some even hang when retrieving headers). You can try disabling this option and/or "include cross post data."

PLEASE NOTE: These two settings are very useful and I don't recommend changing them unless it is really necessary (particularly the cross post). If you disable the verify local headers when retrieving you can always do it manually if you seem to be running into expired articles. You could also disable the automatic check for new groups when you connect to speed thing up a little bit.


Date/time format

You can customize the date format under global options - display. To see the format possibilities look under help - date. Note that you can include spaces in the string for neatness. Here is my current one. It is fairly compact.
 %#m/%d

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New newsgroups window freezes

This happens when you are trying to fetch headers and the new newsgroups list has not been displayed yet. When it does appear Gravity seems to lock. If you haven't figured it out yet click on another application on the task bar then return to Gravity. If it bugs you disable the automatic search for new newsgroups under server properties. You can always check them when you want to.

Keyboard commands

The keyboard shortcuts are listed under help - index - accelerators. Another place (the easiest) is the pull down menu for that command. I also have a Keyboard Command Page. I also have an page for versions before 2.2.

A Way to Organize Newsgroups (user submission 10/05/99)

The usual way to "organize" and order groups in the newsgroup window is to prefix the group name with a letter or number. Here is an interesting method. I reproduced it with permission of the author, Tom (no not me). Thanks Tom!
Subject: Here Is A Method To Organize Group's Order in Gravity
From: Tom <hitom@usa.net>
Newsgroups: alt.usenet.offline-reader

Some have asked here and there, so I figured I should share how I do it. Many ask how you can alter the order of how the groups are listed in Gravity. Some suggest changing the group name, in group defaults, making it like A B C D and so on, with the group name after it, or rename the group itself, in a way that makes it appear as you wish. I have found a much better way.

I add spaces before the group names, but I keep the group name the same as it was. How many spaces I add will count on where I want it to be placed in the list.

Doing this has many benefits over other methods.

1.) You can easily add another group in there later without having to work out a naming scheme within a naming scheme, and change the order as you want as time goes by. For instance, I might add more spaces or take spaces away if later I loose interest or increase interest in a group, simple back key or space key, no need to figure out a name that would fit where I want it to be, no need to retype a new name, just a few strokes on the keyboard and it is easily moved to a new position, in a different block of groups farther up or down.

2.)You get a cascading visual affect of the listed newsgroups. This makes it easier to find a group when you are subscribed to a lot of them.

3.)I can BLOCK groups together in categories. For instance, I may want all my support groups in one block, so I have all support groups with six spaces before their name, then Gravity will list them WITHIN that block by their group name. I have my alt.binaries groups with 4 spaces in front of the name, so all alt.binary ones are grouped together, of the ones I want in THAT block. Now, of binaries some are less important, I just look at the headers but not download binaries from them, and read small text posts that do not have attachments to them, but basically they are not as much used, and so lower priority. Well those groups have only one space in front of them, so I have TWO blocks of alt.binaries groups, in TWO different places, and "within" each block the groups are listed in alphabetical order by Gravity. You can let your imagination go wild here. Since there is so much extra space in the newsgroup pane, you can add say 20 spaces before your most important block of groups and go from there if you want too.

4.)The groups will download in the order I WANT them too. When retrieving headers Gravity works from the top of the list down, since my highest read ones are at the top, using spaces, they get headers downloaded first, and tagged articles first too.

5.)You do not loose the full name of the group in doing this. Since the group names are so long, and only one letter off can mean a totally different group, I like to keep the original names. Adding spaces only before the name makes them look like they should, and I don't have to use something like numbers or letters before the group which would alter how the name looks too. All you see is white space before the group name.

Those are the main benefits I see. But you may see something YOU needed to do that this works for as well. Try it out, I think you will find it is the best method.


Automate newsrc transfer by FTP

This is one of those things I did just to see if I could do it. The objective is to totally automate importing a newsrc file from a remote server, running Gravity and replacing the newsrc on a remote server. One double-click on a batch file shortcut does it all. It involves the scripting ability of Windows95 command line FTP utility and a batch file. I don't know about doing it with Windows NT. Someone asked in a newsgroup if there was a way to keep two machines, home and work, in sync. This solution may or may not be practical but what the heck.

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